Ontario Severance Pay
Ontario severance pay can mean one of three things: (1) “statutory Ontario severance pay”, (2) “common law Ontario severance pay” and (3) “severance pay according to your employment contract”.
How much severance pay in Ontario am I entitled to?
The amount of Ontario severance pay you are entitled to depends on which kind of severance applies to you – (1) statutory Ontario severance pay, (2) common law Ontario severance pay or (3) severance pay according to your employment contract.
How do I know which kind of severance pay in Ontario applies to me?
Check your employment contract for a termination clause. If you have a termination clause in your employment contract, there may be some kind of formula telling you how much severance pay you are entitled to, thus meaning you would be entitled to “severance pay according to your employment contract”. For example, the termination clause in your employment contract may state that you are limited to “statutory Ontario severance pay” (1 week per year of service) or it may state that you are entitled to some formula like 2 weeks’ severance pay for every year of service.
If you do not have an employment contract or if you have an employment contract which does not contain a termination clause, then “common law Ontario severance pay” applies to you.
I have a termination clause. Is my termination clause enforceable?
Probably not. Most termination clauses are not enforceable. Read our article on termination clauses for more information as to why your termination clause may not be enforceable.
But whats that about Statutory Ontario severance pay again?
Statutory Ontario severance pay is just a minimum. Like minimum wage, it only applies to you if you have an agreement with your employer that all you get upon termination is statutory severance pay.
If you do have an agreement with your employer limiting you to just statutory Ontario severance pay, then you are entitled to just one week of severance pay for every year worked. Check the Ontario Ministry of Labour guide for more information here. You will not need a lawyer to get your statutory severance pay – the Ministry of Labour will take care of that for free. You only need an employment lawyer if you are seeking your entitlement to common law Ontario severance pay or severance pay according to some greater formula for severance contained in a termination clause in your employment contract. The Ministry of Labour cannot get you common law severance pay or greater severance pay as contained in a formula in a termination clause in your employment contract.
So how much common law Ontario severance pay am I entitled to then?
If you are entitled to common law severance pay in Ontario (as most people are), you are able to receive far more severance pay than statutory severance pay.
Calculating common law severance pay in Ontario is an art, not a science. There is no formula that says you get something like one month of severance pay for every year worked. In fact you could be entitled to many months of severance pay for every year worked.
To calculate common law severance pay in Ontario, employment lawyers review these important factors to see how much severance pay you are entitled to:
- years of service;
- experience, training and qualifications;
- the availability of similar employment; and
- any other special circumstances affecting your ability to find a comparable job.
We employment lawyers review each above-noted factor to determine how long it will take you to find comparable employment. For example, the older you are or the more money you make, the harder it will be to re-employ in a comparable job. Therefore, you would be entitled a large severance package if you were close to retirement age and made over $100,000. This is just one example, there are endless other ways to increase your entitlement to severance pay in Ontario.
What if I haven’t been provided enough severance pay by my employer?
Then you have been “wrongfully dismissed”. You should consider hiring an employment lawyer at our employment and labour law firm who will negotiate more severance pay with your employer.
Click here to read more about wrongful dismissal.
I used a severance pay calculator that told me I was entitled to some amount of severance pay.
Severance pay calculators are simply marketing schemes to get you to come into the law firm to sign a retainer. Do not rely on severance pay calculators. Click here to read more on why you should not use a severance calculator to determine how much severance you are entitled to in Ontario.
Call us instead to determine how much severance you are entitled to in Ontario.
I heard about something called “notice” or “pay in lieu of notice”. What is that?
Generally, “notice” is just another word for severance. Its basically the same thing. Read our guide to notice here.
Can Dutton Employment Law advise me on my entitlement to severance pay in Ontario?
Yes! We will provide a free consultation to anyone terminated from work looking to review how much severance pay in Ontario they should receive. We have reviewed thousands of severance packages and have successfully increased severance pay for most of our clients.
Call us now for a phone consultation or an in-person consultation: 416.551.1153.